National Influenza Vaccination Week Kicks Off Today
To help raise awareness regarding the importance of obtaining influenza vaccination throughout the entire flu season, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Influenza Vaccine Summit, CDC, and other partners are conducting activities during the second annual National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), which starts today and runs through Dec. 2.
Also, CDC, Families Fighting Flu, and other partners also have designated tomorrow, as Children's Flu Vaccination Day to put a special focus on the importance of vaccinating children at high risk and their close contacts.
DHHS says influenza vaccination coverage in all groups recommended for vaccination remains suboptimal. Despite the timing of the peak of influenza disease, administration of vaccine decreases substantially after November.
According to results from the National Health Interview Survey regarding the two most recent influenza seasons, approximately 84 percent of all influenza vaccinations were administered during September--November. Among persons aged more than 65 years, the percentage of September--November vaccinations was even higher, at 92 percent.
Because many persons recommended for vaccination remain unvaccinated at the end of November, CDC is encouraging public health partners and health care providers to conduct vaccination clinics and other activities that promote influenza vaccination during NIVW and throughout the remainder of the influenza season.
Each year, on average, approximately 15-to-60 million persons in the United States are infected with influenza virus; an estimated 200,000 persons are hospitalized from influenza complications, and an estimated 36,000 persons die from those complications.
DHHS says influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and potentially severe complications. CDC says annual vaccination is particularly important for the following groups:
- persons at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including: children aged 6 to 59 months, pregnant women, persons aged more than 50 years, persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; and
- persons who live with or care for persons at high risk, including: household contacts and caregivers of persons in the above groups, household contacts and caregivers of children aged less than 6 months (these children also are at high risk for influenza-related complications but are too young to receive influenza vaccination), and health care workers.
NIVW posters and other influenza educational materials are available to download for local printing and distribution at www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/flugallery. Other influenza-related tools and information for health care professionals and patients are available at www.cdc.gov/flu.